- Daily transportation from Lower Manhattan in air conditioned vehicles with seat belts.
- Lunch and snacks are provided.
- Nut-aware camp. Allergy specialist on-site every day.
- Brand new for 2017: Tree House and Wiffle Ball Stadium.
As we kick off the summer, it seems everyone is making plans to leave the City. But, not everyone has a lot of extra time to escape the City for more than a few days. Our suggestion is to consider a “staycation” in Lower Manhattan. Downtown boasts iconic destinations, beautiful waterfront and many family-friendly activities.
We recently had a staycation at the beautiful Conrad Hotel in Battery Park and traveled with another family, to enjoy the amenities that NYC offers in luxury hotels and confirm our thought that a staycation can be a great way to enjoy the Big Apple in a new and fun way. The hotel boasts 463 guest suites and artwork by Sol LeWitt. It’s hard to impress kids, but even our budding artists were captivated by the massive 10 story art on display.
We appreciated the 2 bedroom layout that truly afforded us the opportunity to have the kids sleep in one room while we ordered room service and enjoyed the views from our room. And, it helped that we were next door to each other when we needed to charge our phones!
One of the features that the kids and adults loved was the open atrium lobby. The rooms wrap around the cool artwork, too.
The views from the lobby overlook the Hudson River and stopped us in our tracks. We appreciated the beautiful water views as we made our way to our rooms. The rooms were spacious and modern. The kids were greeted by the famous Hilton plush bear, upon arrival. They loved the scavenger hunt games and crayons that were gifted to them. As parents, we were thrilled to see the espresso machine!
The idea of family travel can conjure up images of downgrading your expectations and ordering a pizza for dinner. However, the Conrad was more than accommodating and welcoming of our kids. We took advantage of the restaurants steps away from the hotel for snacks and morning treats. But, we appreciated the accommodations of one of our kids who has a food allergy and they let the kids be kids. We felt that the restaurant was more than happy to answer our questions, chat with the kids and help clean up after one of them spilled a glass of water.
The Conrad Hotel is located near a number of amazing destinations. Not only are their multiple retail destinations, such as Westfield World Trade Center and Brookfield Place, but they also offer a great package known as Shopper in the City. Let’s just say, the products and gift card included in the promo, are a shoppers dream!
Some of our favorite destinations and things to do with kids include a ride on the Seaglass Carousel in Battery Park, a sail on the Clipper City tall ship, a visit to the National September 11 Memorial Museum, a visit to Rockefeller Park and for a day that the weather may not cooperate, a stop at the Regal Cinema, located in the hotel complex. The City is a walking exploration and the hotel is truly located within walking distance of local and easy to get to neighborhoods, via the subway. We love exploring SoHo, for shopping, Chelsea for the art galleries and a visit to the Meatpacking District for the incredible High Line Park.
The fitness center is 24/7 so getting a workout in, with kids in tow, is something that can be done, at any hour! As a working Mom, I loved the fact that the business center was accessible at any time as well. I also appreciated the fact that when I called from the business center, requesting technical assistance, someone arrived within a minute and helped me get set up for printing out work documents.
The Conrad Hotel is known for their impeccable service, but in the social media world, they are especially known for their Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar and the stunning views of the Hudson River. Their social media following is impressive, in large part, due to their signature Prosecco & Ice Pop cocktail – a fruity People’s Pop ice pop topped with chilled Prosecco or Rose. And, their signature restaurant Atrio Wine Bar & Restaurant offers an incredible dinner menu, but also serves a weekend brunch that is outstanding. Our dinner with the kids was easy and fun and our server offered an adjusted recipe, due to allergies. The Executive Chef is Gerron Douglas and the menu and service are truly impressive.
Staying in the City for the Summer or not going away for a Winter vacation doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun. Take advantage of the amazing promotions that the Conrad Hotel offers and consider a staycation in the heart of Lower Manhattan. It’s a great hotel to bring kids to and the staff couldn’t be friendlier and more knowledgeable about the downtown scene.
FTC Disclosure: We were invited to be a guest of the hotel. All opinions are our own.
Sailing season has officially kicked off and there is no better way to see the NYC skyline, than by one of two vessels operated by Manhattan by Sail. The company operates two beautiful vessels in Lower Manhattan; the Clipper City out of the Battery at Slip 2 and the Shearwater, out of the marina at Brookfield Place – South Side.
One of our favorite outdoor activities in NYC is to embark on a sail on the New York Harbor. Sailing gives you a chance to see the city in a very unique way and gives you perspective that only stepping away from the hustle and bustle can give you. The owner of Manhattan by Sail is Tom Berton, a downtown Dad and has roots in the downtown sailing community since 1988, when he was sailing on a previous vessel, the Petrel. Manhattan by Sail has been in operation since 2001 and they manage two beautiful vessels. The Clipper City, is a tall ship or topsail schooner which boasts a length of 158-ft and its masts and rigging reach 120-ft from the deck. It’s impressive, elegant and the perfect sailing vessel for viewing Lower Manhattan and all that it has to offer. I love the experience of the Clipper City because you are able to walk around the deck and experience different vantage points, without feeling like you are going to topple overboard. It’s the perfect sailing vessel for groups that want to socialize and mingle and great for families of little one’s that want to help the crew raise the sails and feel like a sailor. Catering is available as well.
Manhattan by Sail also operates the Shearwater schooner out of the North Cove Marina. The Shearwater is smaller in size and measures 82-ft in length. The Shearwater is beautiful and visitors will feel the history of the schooner, the moment they set foot on it. The Shearwater sail is an intimate experience because sailors tend to sit and relax, based on its size. Since the schooner can accommodate 49 passengers as opposed to the 149 that the Clipper City can accommodate, it tends to be a sail where you “sit back and relax”. The ship was built in 1929. It has been sailing out of New York since 2001 and is 88 years old, still going strong.
The Manhattan by Sail website lists the daytime and evening sails for both ships and both are available for private sails and group tickets. My kids and I have loved our sails and the views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are definitely picture worthy. If you have visitors in town and they wonder how and why you live in New York City, the best way to answer is by taking them sailing. One sail around New York Harbor will explain why NYC is the best place to live, with the views of the City, the skyline at night and the beauty of Lower Manhattan.
Staycation at the Millennium Hilton with FiDi Families
New York City is full of adventures and we love exploring the City and all that it has to offer. It’s so easy to forget that the Big Apple is an international tourist destination. To us, it is simply home. But, the reality is that 60% of all tourists to Lower Manhattan are international and the top 5 international visitors hail from the U.K., Germany, Spain, France and Australia (according to the 2016 tourism report by the Downtown Alliance).
According to the Downtown Alliance, NYC was host to 14.8 million visitors in 2016! So, with all of the interest and excitement for the Big Apple, we decided to experience a downtown stay with a FiDi hotel that is in the midst of the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan and with plenty of amenities and things to do, to entertain any visitor, from young to old.
The Millennium Hilton has been a downtown staple and one of the original hotel brands to put down roots in the Financial District, when most big brands were focusing on midtown. The 55 story hotel was damaged by the attacks on 9/11 but managed to remain open and rebuild itself, just as the rest of the neighborhood did. There are food destinations within walking distance that are well-known and fabulous people watching such as L’Appart at Le District, Mark Forgione in Tribeca, Cut Reserve in Tribeca and the relocated Nobu, just down the street from the hotel. With the opening of Augustine by famed restauranteur Keith McNally, the dining options are endless, when staying downtown. As most New Yorker’s know, any restaurant in New York is used to serving children, as kids have to eat too! So, we love taking advantage of great restaurants that welcome children to the NY dining experience. But, when it is easier to stay indoors, we loved dining at Church and Dey, the hotel restaurant and even took advantage of room service for dinner. The food was excellent and with the incredible views and the dining room table, we felt quite spoiled.
Some neighborhood highlights include Eataly, the Oculus, home to the Westfield WTC Shopping and Transit Center, the Trinity Church cemetery, where Alexander Hamilton is buried, the NYSE, the Charging Bull and of course, his new companion, the Fearless Girl. Plus, 10 subway lines are within 1 block of the Millennium Hilton. So, the option of taking mass transit is easy to do, as well as walking the City streets and exploring the hood. The Brooklyn Bridge is only a 10 minute walk and the views of Lower Manhattan from the bridge are unprecedented. The history and the impressive nature of the Brooklyn Bridge are worth the walk over this historic bridge. Of course, no visit or staycation is complete without a visit to the Statue of Liberty, though we always cheat and simply take the free Staten Island Ferry to get a free ride and an up close view of Lady Liberty.
The standard hotel room is approximately 300 square feet and is spacious compared to other hotels in the City. We were lucky enough to stay in a Junior Suite, which includes a private bedroom and sitting area, which was separated by a bathroom. We love the corner units with spectacular views, afforded by wall to wall windows. We highly recommend making this request, when booking a stay. With kids in tow, it was great to set them up on the pullout couch and 42″ t.v. along with cookies and milk for a cozy night and gorgeous nighttime views.
One of the unique aspects of this downtown hotel, is the heated indoor pool. It boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and the natural light is fantastic. It’s a great way to relax on your own or let the kids get their last bit of energy out. On our staycation, the weather was chilly and it was hard to convince anyone to wander outdoors. So, it was really nice to have the indoor pool as an option and a backup plan, if we chose not to go out and explore. Whether you explore near or far, its a nice reward for all of the walking that you tend to do in the City. The chance to indulge in an indoor pool after a day of walking and crowds is hard to beat.
The Millennium Hilton is really central to amazing destinations. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum are steps away and a must-see while in NYC. The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian at Bowling Green is a quick walk south and the amount of public art that is free and open to the public is impressive. The Red Cube, created by sculptor Isamu Noguchi is a few blocks away and is always an Instagram favorite.
An insider tip for FiDi Families is to utilize the itineraries that are posted to the Downtown Alliance website. We certainly have our favorite go-to’s when friends are visiting or if we decide to play tourist for the day, as we did with our staycation. But, they offer a variety of options, based on the length of stay, so its a great resource. And, a little known fact is that guests of the hotel are able to receive a discounted rate at the Seaglass Carousel. This gorgeous carousel is must-do with kids or without. It’s a magical experience.
As a family of four, the Millennium Hilton was a great choice for our downtown staycation and we can’t wait to return. Be sure to ask about the #MilleniumMemories package for some great options for guests of the hotel.
Disclosure: We received complimentary accommodations so we could share our recommendations and experiences with you as a FiDi Families contributor. As always, my posts are based on my opinions and experiences.
Lots of great local events in the neighborhood for us to shower our Mom’s with love this weekend!
For more information, please visit their website HERE
Learn how to create the perfect bouquet by EB Florals founder and designer Eric Buterbaugh. Each floral arrangement will be paired with a suggested fragrance followed by a personalized, custom sketched Mother’s Card.
FiDi Families is hosting a Learn to Bike workshop for kids with the team from Bike New York, along with the Old Seaport Alliance.
Date: Sunday, May 21
Time: 1p – 3p
Ages: 5 – 13 yo
Fee: The workshop is free and open to the public, but RSVP is mandatory.
FiDi Families Insiders: All riders must be accompanied by an adult. A waiver will be provided on site, required for each rider. A bike and a helmet are mandatory.
Visit the event website for details and registration HERE
Get ready for a full afternoon celebration of Passover with performances, arts & crafts, a sing-along, photo booth and everyone’s favorite tradition- search for the hidden matza. Learn how to make-you-own Haggadah and Elijah & Miriam cups and explore the local marketplace of Passover foods. Explore this great destination in Lower Manhattan during Passover and beyond.
Date: Sunday, April 2nd
Time: 10am – 1pm
Location: 36 Battery Place (The Museum of Jewish Heritage)
Ages: Families and children 12 and under
Ticket: $10/person (free for children and grandchildren of members)